Choosing Grow Lights for Your PlantsIndoor gardeners try to replicate the best outdoor growing conditions for their plants. For this reason when you are using a grow tent or grow cabinet you will need a light source to make sure your plants thrive as they would in fresh air and sunlight. Grow lights are the best alternative for growing plants indoors and this is particularly useful where there are only short periods of good natural light available, such as in countries that have long winter nights and short summer months. You will need to work out the optimal light intensity and the type of light you need for the variety of plants you intend to grow. Vegetables, for example, grow well under standard fluorescent lights and these are also great for getting seedlings to germinate quickly. Vegetables like lots of sunlight, so the artificial light source should be able to mimic the outdoor intensity. On the other hand shade-loving plants will grow with less sunlight so a normal incandescent light will usually work well.
Why you need a reflective surfaceTo get the maximum benefit from your setup you should move the plants close to the light source. Grow tents come in different sizes but they are generally tall enough to accommodate plants and wide enough to allow comfortable access for the gardener. You will need to adjust the height of the plant table or lower the light to make sure the plants are at the exact right distance from the light. Distance can vary between 60cm and 100cm so you will need to experiment with your plants and the type of lights you are using.
Plants need a good night’s sleepJust as you need to sleep at night plants also like to have ‘lights out’ for set periods. You will need to time your lights to switch on and off at set intervals. But as with humans, plants vary according to the amount of ‘sleep’ they need. Some plants like long days and short nights while others grow happily with longer periods of darkness.
Types of grow lights now availableEconomical lights suitable for home growing systems include:
- Fluorescent lights